Looters steal firefighter's wallet as he battles historic California wildfires, official

'I have no patience for somebody who's going to come into this community and steal' – Santa Cruz County Sheriff Jim Hart

Updated: August 24, 2020 - 2:17pm

The historic wildfires in central and northern California have forced tens of thousands of residents from their homes, resulting in looters ransacking empty residences and vehicles, including a fire truck from which a commander had his wallet stolen.

"It takes a special kind of person to wake up in the morning and say, ‘You know what, I’m going to victimize and traumatize people who have already been through everything that this community has already been through,” said Santa Cruz County Sheriff Jim Hart. “I have no patience for somebody who's going to come into this community and steal.”

The wallet was stolen over the weekend, and the commander’s bank account was drained as a result, said Mark Brunton, a battalion chief for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Brunton called the incident “sickening.” 

The CZU Lightning Complex Fires in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties, which includes the Santa Cruz Mountains, were sparked by thousands of lightning strikes. They have so far resulted in the death of at least five people. Officials say eight people have been arrested in connection with the looting. 

 

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